Tom Neff

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Tom Neff
TLN342 crop.jpg
Born1953 (age 67–68)
OccupationBusiness executive, film producer, film director, professor

Thomas Linden Neff (born 1953)-, known as Tom Neff, is an American film executive, director and producer, born in Chicago, Illinois.[1] He lives in Nashville, Tennessee.


Neff received his Bachelor of Arts from Lawrence University with a major in English. In 1981, he completed a Master of Fine Arts at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.


Neff is the founder and former CEO of DOC: The Documentary Channel, the first channel in the United States to show documentaries on a full-time basis. The Documentary Channel, created in 1998, was shown on the DISH Network, Channel 197 and DirecTV, Channel 263. Neff is also a documentary film producer and director.[2]

Neff's films have won several national and international awards, including an Academy Award nomination and an Emmy win.[3] In 1983 he began Tennessee's first feature film production company, Polaris Productions, and wrote and directed the feature film Running Mates (1985) distributed worldwide by New World Pictures.[4]

In the early 1990s, with partner Diandra Douglas, Neff co-founded and ran Wild Wolf Productions, a California-based (Culver City) documentary film production company that produced Beatrice Wood: Mama of Dada (1993) and America's Music: The Roots of Country (1996).

Neff produced, wrote, and directed the 30-minute documentary Herb Alpert: Music for Your Eyes, on the art and sculpture of musician Herb Alpert (2003); Country Music: The Spirit of America, (2003), an IMAX film which traces the history of the United States in the 20th century through country music; and Chances: The Women of Magdalene (2006), a feature-length documentary on the socially conscious organization Magdalene, located in Nashville, that recovers prostitutes off the street.

He has served on the board of the International Documentary Association, the Tennessee Governor's Film Advisory Board, the Board of Directors of the Watkins College of Art&Design in Nashville, was Chairman of Finance on the Belcourt Theater board, and was co-chairman of the Nashville Film Festival. He is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, where he sat on the Nominating Committee for Best Documentary. Neff has participated on various documentary panels at film festivals around the world.


Neff has taught at his alma mater as an adjunct professor (School of Cinematic Arts at USC). In the 1990s he taught a course on music video production. His students taking the course (USC Cinema 499) shot various music videos for country music artists such as Radney Foster, and others. Neff obtained financing for the program from various records labels, such as Arista Nashville.[5]

Neff is currently an assistant professor of film and video production at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.[6][7]

Filmography (producing and directing)[edit]

Feature films

  • Running Mates, (1985)

Short documentaries

Feature documentaries

Television documentaries

Corporate films

  • Speed Dreams
  • emPOWERed
  • TVA:Built For The People (producer only)
  • Quiet Hero
  • No Magic Bullets





  1. ^ Tom Neff at IMDb.
  2. ^ Markert Wired. June 08, 2010. Accessed: March 30. 2014.
  3. ^ Halpern, Frances. Los Angeles Times, Ventura County Live section, "Words and Images," March 11, 1993.
  4. ^ Hurst, Jack. Chicago Tribune, August 24, 1986. Accessed: March 30, 2014.
  5. ^ Atwood, Brett. Billboard (magazine), article, "USC students Learning on the Job," January 20, 1996.
  6. ^ Editors, Murfreesboro Post, "MTSU is key player in Pa’s Fiddle PBS special", January 6, 2012. Accessed: March 30, 2014.
  7. ^ Tom Neff Archived 2013-09-27 at the Wayback Machine article at Middle Tennessee State University (Electronic Media Communication News, Events, and Inspiration), "EMC students to attend Film-Com Film Market", April 15, 2013. Accessed: March 30, 2014.
  8. ^ Cutting Edge: The Avant-Garde and Fashion Archived 2007-01-26 at the Wayback Machine. A conference in New York, 2006. Last accessed: April 13, 2008.
  9. ^ Scott, Tony. Variety, film review, October 1, 1993. Accessed: September 20, 2013.
  10. ^ Valdespino, Anne. Orange County Register, "The life and art of an iconoclast's icon," Show Section-5, August 19, 1993.
  11. ^ Cutting Edge: The Avant-Garde and Fashion. Ibid
  12. ^ The Emmy Awards Archived 2013-05-29 at the Wayback Machine. On-line web site, 27th Annual News and Documentary Awards, 2006. Accessed: September 20, 2013.
  13. ^ M&C News Archived 2007-08-22 at the Wayback Machine. Movie News, "Nashville Film Festival Winners," May 5, 2006. Last accessed: April 24, 2008.

External links[edit]